September 9, 2019

DAYTON, Ohio - Community Blood Center honored Eaton's Wendell Clark Sept. 9 at the Dayton Donor Center as he became CBC's first donor to reach the milestone of 700 lifetime blood donations.


"Thank you for saying 'yes" all those years ago," said CBC Collection Service Director Kay Ollech. "I remember 600 seemed like a lot," said Wendell, "and 500 and 400 before that! I always would say, it's just another donation and I would start thinking about the next goal."


Wendell donates platelets and plasma twice a month. Platelets and plasma are vitally important for the treatment of cancer patients, as well as trauma, transplant, and burn patients.


Collections Services Director Kay Ollech said Wendell was part of a group of donors asked to donate plasma for an infant whose father was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in the mid 1980's. Wendell had 72 lifetime whole blood donations at the time but had had never donated platelets or plasma.


"That's how he got started," said Kay. "It was for a baby with a clotting disorder. They gave her a massive amount of plasma to stop her bleeding. We had gathered together A, B and AB donors. It was a limited donor pool, and it was for lifelong support." Wendell was the longest contributing donor for the infant.


Wendell had been CBC's top active donor since 2010. He made his milestone 600th lifetime donation on Oct. 24, 2013 and a few weeks later became CBC's "Top Donor of All Time" with his 602nd lifetime donation on Nov. 14, 2013.


He was forced to stop donating in 2014 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. "The prostate test came back positive, and the first thing that went through my mind was, I can't donate," he said. 


He underwent successful surgery and was deferred from donating for two years.  Exactly two years later, he was back donating. Wendell was inducted into the Fresenius Kabi National Donation Hall of Fame in 2017. 


"I feel like one way I can help other people is to donate my blood products to them," said Wendell. "Other than having the cancer I've been fairly healthy. So, I can help out people who are not as fortunate."


Wendell retired after more than 31 years with Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing in Eaton, where he continues to work part-time. Wendell and his wife Vivian have three children and seven grandchildren.